God’s Name is Revealed
The Israelites are crying out in the land of Egypt. The Egyptian King has died and now God’s people are being oppressed at every angle. There’s no escape from their labor, no escape from a feeling of hopelessness they breathe day and night. They groan in prayer hoping that God will deliver them from their oppressors.
Elohim–God, he hears their cries for help, remembering the covenant promise he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The people crying out to him would be the very people he would use to bless all other people in the world. In a story we see repeating itself from Creation to New Creation, God would rescue his people but not just rescue them, he would redeem them. But he wouldn’t just redeem them. He would bless them and deliver them to a land flowing with milk and honey because he loves them and just like in the Beginning, wants to walk with them.
Seeking out Moses as he tended sheep in the wilderness, God appears in a burning bush, a pentecost fire, to inaugurate something new he was about to do in the world. He would use Moses to deliver a message to his people and to Pharoah. Elohim-God would walk with his people because that has been his plan since the inception of Creation itself. Not just as Elohim, not as just a being off in the heavens with the title of God, but personally as Yahweh, the very one who brings all things into being. God would enter the world of Moses as Yahweh, the great I AM, and I AM would deliver his people FROM death and bondage TO life and freedom.
Moses would meet God in the fire and understand that God’s very name Yahweh means the one who causes things to be. Despite sin, despite despair, despite hopelessness, Yahweh would provide, Yahweh would rescue, and Yahweh would deliver the Israelites.
But he wouldn’t just deliver them from something. He would deliver them too something.
That land flowing with milk and honey.
All because God is the one who causes things to be.
Some commentary on Exodus 2:23–25; 3:1–15; 4:10–17;
Perhaps the most personal thing you can do is call someone by their name instead of their title. This is exactly what happens between Moses and God. God (Elohim in the Hebrew language) is a title, Yahweh (again, Hebrew) is a name.
Jesus is a name.
Jesus is the great I Am, Yahweh (John 8:58).
A part of understanding the Gospel is that Jesus has always been the one who wants to come and live with people. This stretches all the way back to Exodus and even Creation itself, where God was walking with people.
How does this story help me love God better? God comes to us not as some distant being but as bones and breath, and blood and flesh. He comes to us with personal names. Yahweh, the one who causes things to be, the Creator. Jesus, Yeshua (Yehoshua), meaning Yahweh, the one who saves. It’s easier to someone when you know them personally, and God introduces us to himself on a first name basis. Going by first names is about as personal as it gets.
How does this story help me love others better? Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is speak about the personable side of God who wants to be on a first name basis with people. We live in a world where it’s easy to speak with the digital version of someone but not so much the flesh and blood version of someone. That pattern carries over in people’s relationships with God and we can help to balance things out.